June 14, 2007

A Funky Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:23 am by classicalmusic

The Puppet Museum in Lyons, France, is one of the funkiest museums I have had
the pleasure of visiting.

The “Hotel Gadagne”

The Hotel Gadagne is one of the most impressive and prestigious Renaissance
mansions in Lyons.  It was built in the mid 1500’s, actually from 1511 to 1527
and became the property of the important Gadagne family, who were rich
Florentine bankers, in 1545.  In 1902 the city of Lyon bought the mansion, and
in 1921 it became the home of the Lyon Historical Museum.

It was only in 1950 that the International Puppet Museum was added to the
property, and this is where the fun begins.  The Puppet Museum displays hand
puppets, marionette puppets, sliding bar puppets and stick puppets from many
countries such as Russia, Japan, Cambodia, England, Italy, Belgium and
Czechoslovakia, as well as from France.

A Different View of Puppets

Those of us who are used to puppets of the Pinocchio and Punch and Judy
variety, or the more modern Muppets are shown a completely different aspect of
puppetry in this museum.  Some of the dolls, in particular those from the Far
East, have the most exquisite clothing – authentic to the tiniest bit of lace,
and very beautiful painted faces.  The puppets from Italy tend to be
exaggerations of well-known folklore figures such as Harlequin and Columbine. 
There are also displays showing how the puppets were made in their various
countries, some with very intricate methods.  All in all, this is such a fun
museum, it was the highlight of my one day visit to Lyon.

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